Is it a Mistake to Admit Fault After a Car Accident?
Brian White | October 31, 2020 | Auto Accidents
Yes, it is a mistake to admit fault after a car accident for several reasons. The first reason you should not admit fault after a traffic accident is that you cannot be sure you were at fault.
The shock and aftermath of a collision can leave you confused and dazed. If you sustained a head injury, you could have a concussion or a traumatic brain injury. In either case, you should not be making statements that could have legal ramifications on a future personal injury claim.
Until you speak with a personal injury lawyer and the lawyer investigates the car accident, you cannot be sure that you were at-fault or partially at-fault for the cause of the accident.
Do not admit fault after a car accident. Also, avoid saying phrases like, “I’m sorry” or “I don’t know” or “I could have.” Comments like these can be twisted by insurance companies and defense attorneys to imply you admitted fault.
It is best to talk with a personal injury attorney before talking with an insurance claims adjuster or another party about the accident. That advice applies in all types of traffic accidents, including truck accidents, motorcycle crashes, car wrecks, pedestrian accidents, bicycle accidents, and METRO accidents.
How Can Admitting Fault Impact My Accident Claim?
Texas is an at-fault state for personal injury lawsuits related to traffic accidents. If you file a lawsuit seeking compensation for damages caused by an automobile accident, you must prove that the other driver was “at fault.”
Being “at fault” means that the driver did something to cause the accident. For example, the driver was distracted because he was texting and rear-ended your vehicle at a traffic light. Another example might be a drunk driver crossing the center line and causing a head-on collision.
The evidence in the case must prove that the driver’s actions or inactions directly led to the cause of the accident. Furthermore, you must prove that the accident was the cause of your injuries. If you can prove both requirements, you have a strong chance of recovering compensation for your damages.
Damages caused by a car accident can include, but are not limited to:
- Property damage claims
- Hospital bills, physician’s bills, surgery, therapy, and other medical treatment
- Loss of salary, benefits, wages, and other forms of income
- Cost of household services and personal care
- Travel expenses to and from medical appointments
- Physical pain and suffering
- Psychological conditions, mental anguish, and emotional distress
- Scarring, disability, impairments, and disfigurement
- Loss of quality of life and enjoyment of life
However, if you cannot prove that the other driver caused the crash, you can hold that driver financially liable for your injuries and economic losses.
Admitting fault for the accident complicates the process of proving the other driver is at fault. Insurance companies search for any reason to deny and undervalue your claim.
What Happens if I am Partially At-Fault for the Car Accident?
If you are partially at fault, you could still recover compensation for some damages depending on the circumstances of the accident. However, do NOT admit fault until you speak with a lawyer.
As discussed above, the shock of being in a car crash can impact your reasoning. Do not assume that you are at-fault even if you believe something you might have done contributed to the cause of the accident.
Immediately contact an attorney to discuss the accident. Your lawyer investigates the cause of the accident, gathers evidence, and consults with experts to determine how the crash occurred and whether you contributed to the cause.
If you did contribute to the cause of the car accident, your attorney hires experts to determine your percentage of fault. It is crucial to have this information before deciding how to proceed with your claim.
What is Contributory Fault in Texas Car Accident Cases?
Contributory fault is a method of dividing damages among all parties who caused the accident. Under Texas proportionate responsibility laws, a victim is barred from recovering any compensation for damages if the victim contributed to the cause of the accident by 51 percent or more.
If your fault is less than 51 percent, you may still receive money for your damages from the other party or parties who were at fault for the cause of your car accident. However, your compensation is reduced by the percentage of fault assigned to you.
For instance, if a jury finds that you were 20 percent to blame for causing the car crash, the amount of money you receive is 20 percent less than the claim’s value. If your damages totaled $100,000, you would receive $80,000.
Admitting fault for a motor vehicle accident can significantly hurt your personal injury claim. It might be best for you to avoid speaking with anyone about the details of the accident until you can talk to a car accident lawyer.